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  • Writer's pictureSelvin Basden

Make the Effort & Step Up!

Being from a small country in the shadow of the United States, it is very easy to get caught up in the goings-on of the world, from a perspective driven by everything else, except your own. COVID-19 has taught me many lessons, the most important of which is the value I have come to place on the human connections I have made in my life. While there are those of us who have replaced hugs, kisses and warm embraces for video chats and zoom meetings, what is apparent is that the new normal has yet to truly be defined. This virus has wreaked havoc on our lives the toll of which has yet to be defined. A few months ago, I wrote a blog about fostering healing because of all of this uncertainty. My views on that have not changed, however, I believe that this specific post needs to be explicit.

Mincing words here add no value to the situations we face, it makes the circumstances of our fellow citizens any less dire. For those of us blessed with the good luck to still be employed or have the capacity to provide a little more stability to our families; we should be on the lookout for where we can lend a hand. I live on an island in the Bahamas and there are many things you can say about Bahamians, but the word that comes to mind a lot these days is, “Proud.” The good and the bad kind, but this is not about labeling anyone, as much as it is about helping and extending a hand. There are people, who probably need the assist, but will never ask because of their pride. To be clear, the unemployment rate in my country has probably climbed to about 35% due to the closure of our economy. And so many of the newly unemployed persons were dues-paying members of the community, taking care of entire families (children, siblings, sometimes parents and other extended family members) on one income. They paid mortgages and

rent, bought groceries, covered college tuition, paid school fees by doing what responsible, proud people do. Which even included helping “Mummy” out with a few bucks for her purse. What am I saying? The mental toll of falling so far so fast can be equally and devastating in a way that some people never recover, especially those without a support system in place. Folks, families are hungry, and these days there are lines outside the food store because of social distancing but you can feel the growing sense of uncertainty in the air.

A meal is a meal, and having the ability to make one, buy one or provide one is a blessing on every level. That is why this week, I thought it would be important to use my platform to encourage anyone who takes the time to read this to donate your time, your talent, or your resources. This is not about being charitable or generous, it is about kindness; a trait that we seem to be in desperate need of at our current inflection point. There is value in all people, no matter their station, color, religion, or country of origin; our role is not to stand in judgment of them, picking one side over the other or seeking to exercise some sort of advantage.

Author Kevin Heath once said, “wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” Herein lies the mission; we must seek to go out and make a difference. I don’t know what you feel called or compelled to do, but we are truly in this situation together. Like everyone else, my days are running together, unsure if its Monday or Tuesday. However, I have the luxury of being surrounded by my family that I love very much, spending time with them, and remaining hopeful and forwarding looking to the day when lockdowns end. It is at that point that we begin to really assess the toll.

For those people you know who need a hand, offer what you can, knowing they may brush you off; but I guarantee one day they will reach for you so be there when they do. However, don’t let pride stop you, still give where you can. If not money, items, or your time. Times are hard, what makes it harder is when we turn our back on people when they need us the most. By no means am I wealthy, but I will do what I can to, “step up.” Given all of these facts, I will donate to food banks and donate time and resources to other agencies to make sure no one, especially children has to go hungry.

Having said all of that, I hope you will do the same.

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